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Longmen Grottoes

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The Longmen Grottoes (ch. 龍門石窟; lit. Dragon's Gate Grottoes) or Longmen Caves are located 12km south of modern Luoyang in Henan province, China. The grottoes, which overwhelmingly depict Buddhist subjects, are densely dotted along the two mountains Xiangshan (to the east) and Longmenshan (to the west). The Yi River flows northward between them. For this reason, the area used to be called Yique (The Gate of the Yi River). From north to south, the distance covered by grottoes is about 1km. Along with Mogao and Yungang, the Longmen Grottoes are one of the three most famous ancient sculptural sites in China.

Contents

Statistics

According to the Longmen Caves Research Institute, there are 2345 caves and niches, 2800 inscriptions, 40 pagodas and over 100,000 Buddhist images at the site. 30% of the caves date from the Northern Wei, 60% from the Tang, and caves from other periods less than 10%.

History

During the Warring States Period, the Qin general Baiqi once defeated the allied forces of Han and Wei at the site.

Construction of the grottoes themselves began in 493.

The area was inscribed on the World Heritage list in November 2000.

Individual Grottoes by Dynasty Completed

Mt. Longmen as seen from Manshui Bridge to the southeast.  May, 2004.
Enlarge
Mt. Longmen as seen from Manshui Bridge to the southeast. May, 2004.

Northern Wei

Sui

Tang

Visiting

The Longmen area is open to the public, and although the grottoes cannot be entered most of the artwork can be seen from the exterior. Standard tickets are 80元. Half price tickets (40元) are available to students.


Template:China-geo-stub

de:Longmen-Grotten es:Grutas Longmen ja:龍門洞窟 zh:龙门石窟

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